The Vodacom Blue Bulls added more silverware to their impressive trophy cabinet with overall victory at the Beachcomber World Club 10s in Mauritius on Sunday.
The Beachcomber 10s trophy will sit proudly alongside three Super Rugby trophies and 23 Currie Cup winners’ medals at Loftus Versfeld after some excellent play from the Blue Bulls.
In the final, the Pretoria based franchise beat the Toyota Cheetahs 26-7, using smothering defence and good options from turnover ball to create opportunities and frustrate their opponents in a hugely physical contest.
Fullback Duncan Matthews opened the scoring in the final when he ran on to a well-weighted grubber by scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl.
After the halftime hooter sounded, it was the Bulls who kept probing. Wing Sibhale Mxwane made a good break from deep and produced a deft offload to the supporting Shaun Adendorff, who went in for the score.
After the break defensive pressure led to a third Bulls try when flank Nick de Jager scored from turnover and less than a minute later Matthews went in for his second with an intercept that ended the match as a contest although the Cheetahs kept fighting.
Looseforward Niel Jordaan gave the Cheetahs a glimmer of hope with a try from the back of a rolling maul. But there wasn’t enough time to stage an unlikely comeback against a defence as miserly as the Blue Bulls’.
“We had a good team vibe all week and we wanted to use this tournament as a team building exercise as we look ahead to the Currie Cup,” Vodacom Blue Bulls captain Boom Prinsloo said.
“The Cheetahs were probably a bit tired after such a tough semi-final so we’re happy with the result.
“Tens is a great game – it’s more physical than sevens – there are big hits and a lot of contesting at the breakdown, which makes it a real challenge.
“This is also a great tournament from the excellent Beachcomber Hotels were we have been staying to the wonderful organisation behind the scenes. Thanks to everyone in Mauritius for hosting us.”
The high quality final brought the curtain down on another successful event that is sure to grow in stature in the coming years.
Australia’s Western Force made a good fist of defending the title they won last year, losing 33-14 to the Bulls in the semi-finals while the composite African Pacific Dragons team, coached by Springbok legend Victor Matfield, were the surprise package of the event.
It was unsurprising that the two South African powerhouses with star-studded lineups staffed by Super Rugby players contested the final in a repeat of their day one pool match.
The Cheetahs were too strong with a 29-14 win over the Blue Bulls in the Pool phase but were not as fluent during the knockout stages on day two while the Blue Bulls slowly improved with each outing.
They battled to a 17-10 win over the Kubota Spears in the quarterfinals and then were nearly upset by the Africa Pacific Dragons (APD) before emerging with a 17-14 win.
The Cheetahs had to hold out a last minute surge by the APD, who came up inches short of scoring the winning try and advancing to the final.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Duncan Matthews (2), Shaun Adendorff, Nick de Jager. Con: Andre Warner (2), Ivan van Zyl.
Cheetahs – Try: Niel Jordaan. Con: Neil Marais.
Western Force 33 Brumbies 0
APD 36 Tsunami Pyrenees 0
Cheetahs 17 Kubota Spears 10
Blue Bulls 26 Harlequins 19
Blue Bulls 33 Western Force 14
Cheetahs 17 APD 14
Brumbies 24 Harlequins 17
Tsunami Pyrenees 12 Kubota Spears 5
Kubota Spears 13 Harlequins 10
Tsunami Pyrenees 21 Brumbies 12
APD 17 Western Force 12
Blue Bulls 26 Cheetahs 7